What is Crowdmapping?
Crowdmapping is an opensource initiative by Ushahidi (meaning witness). It is a Kenyan technology and allows users all over the world to create crowd-generated inputs comprising of text messages and social media feeds with geographic near real-time information about events happening around them. Through this, users can create maps and make information reach worldwide about crimes, natural disasters etc. Crowdmaps can be created by anyone on the Ushahidi platform through tools like crowdmap.com
Crowdmapping is particularly effective in creating public awaremeness through interactive real-time mapping. Several issues related to public health and safety can be addressed through this technology. It can also help communities build stronger relations with public security organizations. It can be a standard tool to collect and track ground truth from crisis zones, but very little work has been done to evaluate and mitigate the threat posed by adversaries with offensive infosec capabilities, says George Chamales, a hacker and activist who has served as technical lead for crisis map deployments in Libya, Pakistan and Sudan.
Since crowdmapping is opensource technology, it has certain tradeoffs. It can be used to spread disinformation campaigns by bad actors of the society. According to an article published in MIT Technology Review, Crisis mapping tools are increasingly springing up in politically fraught situations…Crisis maps can’t afford to go through the same security related tumult that often strikes maturing technologies. In a hostile political situation, leaking information could lead to people being arrested or killed, Says Chamales.
Crisis maps can be extremely useful but accuracy and adequate use of information as well as security of sensitive information still remain sensitive issues that need to be addressed.
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